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Sufferance: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, May 18 2021
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Jeremiah Camp, a.k.a. the Forecaster, can look into the heart of humanity and see the patterns that create opportunities and profits for the rich and powerful. Problem is, Camp has looked one too many times, has seen what he hadn’t expected to see and has come away from the abyss with no hope for himself or for the future.
So Jeremiah does what any intelligent, sensitive person would do. He runs away. Goes into hiding in a small town, at an old residential school on an even smaller Indian reserve with no phone, no Internet, no television. With the windows shut, the door locked, the mailbox removed to discourage any connection with the world, he feels safe at last. Except nobody told the locals that they should leave Jeremiah alone.
And then his past comes calling. Ash Locken, head of the Locken Group, the multinational consortium that Jeremiah has fled, arrives on his doorstep with a simple proposition. She wants our hero to formulate one more forecast, and she’s not about to take no for an answer. Before he left the Locken empire, Jeremiah had put together a list of twelve names, every one a billionaire. The problem is the people on the list are dying at an alarming and unnatural rate. And Ash Locken wants to know why.
A sly and satirical look at the fractures in modern existence, Sufferance is a bold and provocative novel about the social and political consequences of the inequality created by privilege and power—and what we might do about it.
Frequently bought together
"[D]azzling . . . Sufferance is a powerful reading experience, a combination of genres and narrative approaches so deftly blended the reader is forced off-balance at almost every turn. There are elements of a skilfully handled thriller, and a low-key, almost bucolic community narrative. It is a thoroughly political novel . . . which grows increasingly tense by turns, but with a sly wit and humour throughout. It is a novel of frustration and despair, leavened with an odd, and ultimately redeeming, sense of hope. How King manages not just to juggle all of these elements, but to resolve them in ways that are both entirely unexpected and completely satisfying, is a reminder of why he is one of Canada’s foremost writers. Sufferance is a novel entirely of its time — our time — with the timeless air of greatness.” — Toronto Star
“King is a master of so many genres. This novel fits right in with these fraught times that have shone a light on financial, racial and social inequality.” — Globe and Mail (Toronto)
“This rambling, satirical gem of a story is told by a curious narrator. . . . Small wonder King has talked about the many false steps he made over years in trying to get Sufferance into shape, the thoughts he has also expressed about his non-fiction work, The Inconvenient Indian—the two books that are arguably his finest." — Chatelaine
“The thought-provoking, intelligent and funny novel looks at privilege and power and the inequality it creates. . . . King’s portrayal of local government is an accurate one and the setting he creates allows the reader a glimpse into a part of our history that has caused unimaginable suffering. Sufferance is another excellent novel by Thomas King.” — Metroland Media
“This new satire from influential Indigenous writer King makes pointed social commentary (on issues ranging from reconciliation to living conditions on reserves) ridiculously entertaining. . . . The breezy but thought-provoking plot that ensues is as over the top as it is entirely plausible.” — Zoomer Magazine
“King’s trademark mix of social commentary and fun.” — 49th Shelf
“King [writes] about Indigenous life with a sly touch, mingling joy and whimsy with more serious subjects, like land seizure and racism.” — Reader's Digest
About the Author
THOMAS KING is an award-winning writer whose fiction includes Sufferance; Indians on Vacation, which won the Leacock Medal for Humour; Green Grass, Running Water; Truth and Bright Water; and The Back of the Turtle, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award. The Truth About Stories won the Trillium Book Award, and The Inconvenient Indian won the RBC Taylor Prize, as well as the BC National Book Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. King’s first collection of poetry, 77 Fragments of a Familiar Ruin, was shortlisted for the Nelson Ball Prize. A Companion of the Order of Canada and the recipient of a National Aboriginal Achievement Award, Thomas King taught at the University of Lethbridge and was chair of American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota. Following this, he taught at the University of Guelph until he retired. Thomas King lives in Guelph with his partner, Helen Hoy. Double Eagle is the seventh book in the DreadfulWater series.
- Publisher : HarperCollins Publishers (May 18 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1443463108
- ISBN-13 : 978-1443463102
- Item weight : 480 g
- Dimensions : 15.24 x 2.84 x 22.86 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #84,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #268 in Native Canadian Literature
- #308 in Native American Literature (Books)
- #538 in Cultural Heritage Historical Fiction
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from Canada
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The story starts out at an engaging clip, but the pace slows to a crawl and felt increasingly pedantic and repetitive to me. While the protagonist, Jeremiah, successfully traces the murderers of billionaires, there's no grand hurrah. Jeremiah's relentless and grumpy silence has not earned my affection. As a matter of fact, I even wondered, at one point, if he'd plotted the murders himself.
From his billionaire boss, Jeremiah accepts a retirement gift of a former residential school building located in the First Nations community where he was born. Jeremiah refuses to speak to the living. He seems to prefer the dead. In his backyard, he replaces the white Christian cross gravemarkers with local rock onto which he steadfastly chisels the name of each child murdered by one more hideous priest.
Throughout the novel, he remains mute by choice which may underscore that listening well and allowing others to 'save' themselves is a far superior route to happiness than evangelical pomposity. But Jeremiah does not listen well. He thinks about lunch while people are pouring their hearts out to him. I suspect our protagonist suffers a traumatic injury.
While persistently shunning his family, this complicated, unchanging, and well-drawn character rarely misses his morning visit to the family cafe where he sips an espresso and shares a freshly baked brownie with his tolerant and kind relative who does all the talking. Jeremiah's First Nations community seems to understand his childhood trauma and that Jeremiah walks in his own self-styled moccasins.
To me, the chit-chatty, very kind, and warm community surrounding this morose man are the real heroes in the story. So often, people mistake warm chatting about the mundane as 'airhead' and silence for 'brilliance'. Not at all true.
The only thing I didn't like about this novel was that it didn't keep going with the story. Might there be a sequel?
Top reviews from other countries
In Sufferance the primary topic is the attempted erasure of Native American culture through boarding schools and reservations and their impacts on future generations.
I think Green Grass and Running Water is his best novel, and one of the best novels I have ever read, but Sufferance is a close second. I highly encourage everyone to read Thomas King.